Environment and Natural Resources Publications

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Hearing Handout

Overview of State’s Water Conservation Efforts

May 3, 2017 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation

Hearing Handout

Overview of State’s Water Conservation Efforts

April 25, 2017 - Presented to: Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife

Post

Lessons From Other States to Address California’s Redemption Center Closures

April 10, 2017 - Since January 1, 2016, over 300 “convenience zone” (CZ) recycling centers—those generally located within a half mile of supermarkets—have closed. CZ recycling centers are an important part of California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program (BCRP). They provide a convenient location for consumers to recycle beverage containers and have their deposit—the California Redemption Value, or “CRV”—repaid. This post examines the closures by reviewing programs in other states and identifying options to improve convenient recycling options in California.

Post

Department of Toxic Substances Control: Performance Improvement Initiatives Merit Oversight

April 4, 2017 - In light of concerns about the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s execution of its responsibilities in recent years, the Legislature has held numerous hearings to monitor the performance of the department’s programs. The Legislature has also approved additional funding and positions for the department to address deficiencies in some of these programs. In this web post, we discuss the department’s progress to date in addressing these deficiencies, as well as provide questions for legislators to ask the department in future budget and policy hearings to determine the degree to which the department is improving program performance.

Other

Letter to Honorable Vince Fong Regarding Potential Future Effects of Fuels in Cap-and-Trade Program

April 3, 2017 - Answers two questions regarding the potential future effects of having fuels in California’s cap-and-trade program: 1) How much would gas prices increase under different cap-and-trade allowance price scenarios included in the administration’s regulatory analysis documents? and 2) What would be the additional costs borne by consumers under these allowance price scenarios?

Report

Managing Floods in California

March 22, 2017 - This report is intended to provide basic information about floods and flood management in California. (Whereas previous generations referred to “flood control” or “flood prevention” activities, experts now prefer the term “flood management” in acknowledgement that floodwaters are recurring and inevitable.) We begin by summarizing the history, causes, and risk of floods across the state. We then describe flood management agencies, infrastructure, and strategies, as well as how governmental agencies typically respond when floods occur. Next, we describe the spending levels and funding sources currently supporting flood management efforts, as well as estimates for how much additional funding may be needed to improve those efforts. We conclude by highlighting some key challenges confronting the state in contemplating how best to manage floods in California.

Hearing Handout

Implementation of Past Natural Resources Bonds

March 21, 2017 - Presented to: Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee

Hearing Handout

Overview of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

March 16, 2017 - Presented to Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy, and Transportation

Hearing Handout

Overview of Proposition 1 2014 Water Bond

March 16, 2017 - Presented to Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy, and Transportation

Post

Residential Water Use Trends and Implications for Conservation Policy

March 8, 2017 - For the past two years, urban water agencies in California have been submitting monthly data on residential water use to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The monthly update covering December 2016 was recently published on the board’s website, providing a full year of data for 2016. This web post discusses trends in residential water use and what these data imply for policymakers in the coming year.

Hearing Handout

Overview of the Governor’s 2017-18 Budget Proposal for Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3

March 8, 2017 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation

Post

The 2017-18 Budget: California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

February 16, 2017 - In this analysis, we recommend two modifications to the Governor's proposed 2017-18 budget for the California Public Utilities Commission: (1) convert funding for one position in the Consumer Affairs Branch from permanent to two-year limited-term and (2) reject request for one position to publish contract information online.

Report

The 2017-18 Budget: Resources and Environmental Protection

February 15, 2017 - In this report, we assess many of the Governor's 2017-18 budget proposals in the resources and environmental protection areas and recommend various changes. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of this report.

Report

The 2017-18 Budget: Cap-and-Trade

February 13, 2017 - In this report, we provide comments and recommendations related to the Governor’s proposal. We recommend the Legislature authorize cap-and-trade (or a carbon tax) beyond 2020. If the Legislature approves cap-and-trade, we recommend the Legislature strengthen the allowance price ceiling and provide clearer direction to ARB regarding the criteria that the board should use to determine whether a complementary policy should be adopted. We also recommend the Legislature approve cap-and-trade (or carbon tax) with a two-thirds vote because it would provide greater legal certainty and ensure ARB has the ability to design an effective program. With a two-thirds vote, we recommend the Legislature broaden the allowable uses of auction revenue because it would give the Legislature flexibility to use the funds on its highest priorities. When finalizing its 2017-18 cap-and-trade spending plan, we recommend the Legislature (1) reject the administration’s proposed language making spending contingent on future legislation, (2) consider alternative strategies for dealing with revenue uncertainty, and (3) allocate funds to specific programs rather than providing DOF that authority.

Report

Improving State’s Approach to Park User Fees

January 12, 2017 - The state park system contains nearly 280 parks, serves about 70 million visitors each year, and costs over $400 million a year to operate. These costs are mainly supported by the state General Fund and revenue generated by the parks, including roughly $100 million in fees paid by park users for day use, camping, and special events. In reviewing current fee-setting policies and procedures we find that the current lack of a statewide policy framework and standard process can lead to disparities in fees, infrequent reviews of fees, and inconsistent opportunities for public input. Our recommendations for improving how state park fees are determined and collected include (1) establishing a legislative fee policy that specifies the share of operational costs that should be borne by park users versus the General Fund (or alternative funding sources), (2) directing the State Parks and Recreation Commission to develop and regularly update fee guidelines to be implemented by state park districts in order to provide greater consistency throughout the state, and (3) specifying a fee-setting process that would be consistent statewide and provide greater opportunity for public input.

Environment and Natural Resources Staff

Ross Brown
(916) 319-8345
Air Quality, Energy, Recycling, and Climate Change
 
Rachel Ehlers
(916) 319-8330
Water, Coastal Development, and Fish and Wildlife
 
Helen Kerstein
(916) 319-8364
Forestry, Parks, and High Speed Rail
 
Frank Jimenez
(916) 319-8324
Highways and Roads, Agriculture, and Toxics
 
Eunice Roh
(916) 319-8327
Mass Transportation, Traffic Enforcement, Statewide Infrastructure
 
Brian Brown
(916) 319-8325
Deputy Legislative Analyst: Environment and Transportation